Steps to an Effective Internship
- Define your interests
- Set a realistic timetable
- Prepare your CV and Cover Letter
- Finding an Internship
- Getting Credit
- Funding and Internship Awards
Take time to reflect on what your interests are and what type of internship would most effectively engage them.
- What themes and issues have interested you from class?
- What skills and knowledge would you like to gain?
- What skills or experiences do you have already?
- Are you willing/able to learn a new language?
- Do you have a country or geographical region in mind?
- Are you looking for a public, private or non-profit organization?
- Would you prefer office or field work?
- How much time do you have to commit to an internship?
- Start Early!
- If you're looking for an internship in the Summer, begin your search in the Fall
- Set aside time (at least 2 hours) every week to research opportunities, write cover letters, make phone calls, follow-up with organizations, etc.
- Draft or update your CV (résumé)
- Have your CV and cover letter reviewed at McGill University's Career Planning Services (CaPS): http://www.mcgill.ca/caps/
- You also encouraged to review ION's Writing Guides for Internship CVs and cover letters:
Writing Guide for Internship CVs [.pdf]
Writing Guide for Internship Cover Letters [.pdf]
- Once you have your CV prepared, and have researched a few organizations, make an advising appointment with AIO. See the AIO office hours and drop-in hours listed here.
Attend workshops and information sessions. Learn more about your fields of interest.
- Sign-up for the AIO Internship Listserv to stay up-to-date on events, opportunities and awards
- Attend the AIO's events and workshops. Learn about the resources available to you during your internship search.
Look up potential host organizations through the AIO:
- Search for Internships on the AIO's website and databases: www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/find
Look for potential host organizations outside the AIO:
- Tap connections with friends and family.
- Mention your interests to professors and other people who work in fields that interest you. Ask for their suggestions and guidance.
- Talk to students who have participated on internships in the past.
- Use the web: It may seem overwhelming at first but careful searches can yield a lot of information. It can be a useful resource, especially when getting started
- Phone organizations: Don't rely on e-mail alone when approaching organizations. Phone organizations and speak to someone to determine what opportunities exist. Make sure to get the name and contact information of the person responsible for interns. Sending an e-mail to the right person improves your chances of having your request read.
Throughout your search:
- Be proactive - If you are applying directly to host organizations, follow up on your applications with an e-mail or a phone call.
- If you do get an internship, make sure to get a letter of confirmation from your host organization saying you will be interning with them and outlining the terms of the internship.
Students may receive up to 3 credits for their work provided they return to McGill the semester following their internship. Students must register for their department's internship course and write an academic paper under the supervision of a McGill professor. The steps to getting credit are straightforward but require advance planning. They must be completed before the start of the internship:
- Review the steps to getting internship credit approval and your department's particular requirements at: http://www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/credit
- Early in the year, talk to professors and discuss their availability to supervise your paper
- Discuss possible research topics with your supervisor and write a proposal for the internship course.
- Review your department's particular rules regarding eligibility and course requirements: www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/credit
- Once you have a confirmed internship and a supervisor, complete the Internship Credit Approval Form available at www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/credit (note: This must be done PRIOR departure. Approval is not given retroactively)
The following is a partial list of potential sources of funding for students:
- For returning students, the AIO offers a number of competitive awards: www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/awards
- Office Québec Amériques pour la Jeunesse (OQAJ) http://www.lojiq.org
- Write a project proposal and solicit sponsorship through your Member of Parliament/Congress, local businesses, high school or college, etc.
- Organize your own fundraising event.